Bottas tops FP2 in Qatar as Verstappen beats Hamilton

19-11-2021 15:00
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Bottas tops FP2 in Qatar as Verstappen beats Hamilton

On a green, dusty track Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in the second free practice session for the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix. Mercedes seemed to be slightly stronger compared to Red Bull Racing, particularly in the first sector of the circuit. This is where Bottas was able to gain the most time on their rivals. As usual in FP2, long runs dominated the final part of the session.

Continuing a strong start to the weekend, Pierre Gasly sat in P2 when the chequered flag dropped. His Japanese teammate also found himself inside the top 10. Max Verstappen rounded out the top three. Sergio Perez finished eighth but did have traffic trouble on his fastest lap. 

It looks like a strong weekend for AlphaTauri and Aston Martin. In the battle for third place in the constructors, McLaren and Lando Norris got the upper hand on the qualifying pace. Nikita Mazepin did not feature in the session due to a chassis change. 

In the first sector, Red Bull Racing were unable to get near the times recorded by Bottas and Hamilton. This was where Mercedes gained the most time. It was a smoother session for Hamilton, who experienced some power troubles in FP1. Once again, the tyres didn't really grain meaning Pirelli's compounds could last a long time in Sunday's Grand Prix. 

Greenlight

As is usual in 2021, most cars rushed out onto the circuit to get as much data in conditions that the race and qualifying will take place in. The only car that didn't leave the pits was Nikita Mazepin's Haas because the American team needed to change his chassis. 

AlphaTauri continued their strong start to the weekend. After the opening ten minutes, Tsunoda sat at the top of the timesheets but was soon replaced by Verstappen. Mercedes then pushed hard on the medium tyres to go even quicker. 

Ferrari had a problem in the garage with Charles Leclerc's car. The engine cover was off and it looked like the mechanics fixed something relating to the electronics. The man from Monaco returned to the circuit relatively quickly as Mercedes applied the soft tyres. Both Bottas and Hamilton improved and went almost half a second faster than their rivals. Bottas' lap was deleted due to track limits. 

Once again, traffic proved to be a bit of a challenge considering the length of the circuit. Sergio Perez had to back out of a hot lap on soft tyres when a Ferrari got in his line of vision. A few laps later, Sebastian Vettel reported his frustration on the Aston Martin teammate radio. He suggested Hamilton and Perez got in his way. 

Perez was kept in the garage for longer during the long runs. Red Bull mechanics focused on his rear wing that was spotted fluttering on the circuit. With the lack of degrading Verstappen, Hamilton and Perez used the soft tyres for their long runs. 

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